By Bob Hicks
“I didn’t do it!” the woman barked, pointing a long bony finger accusingly at another woman who stood in shell-shocked horror. “It was her!”
Not for the first time in his life Mr. Scatter felt a mild urge to strangle someone he’d never actually met. In moments of crisis the scramble for self-preservation is a natural human impulse, but there are times when it really ought to be held in check.
For one thing, it was obvious how the accident had occurred. For another, the woman who had unknowingly swiped against the beaded kewpie doll, which was perched in a high-traffic zone in Lyons Wier Gallery‘s booth at the SOFA West art fair, obviously felt horrible: tiny little colored beads were scattered all over the floor, the doll itself was lying there smashed among the litter, and the artist who had so meticulously made it, Jan Huling, stood by gazing dejectedly at the wreckage. Stuff happens, especially in crowded rooms crammed with expensive breakable items, and a little empathy goes a lot farther than a pointing bony finger.
After attending last week’s second annual SOFA West in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Mr. Scatter can imagine a few other pointing fingers, and maybe a few pointed sniffs. Both are predictable, and say more about the mood of the art world than they do about SOFA. This popular art fair, larger versions of which are also held annually in Chicago and New York (SOFA stands for Sculpture Objects & Functional Art), represents a lot of things that much of the contemporary art world hold to be unworthy of serious attention.